There’s a special level of Hell dedicated to shifting through the internet trying to get answers to writing questions.
Writing anything, from novels to poetry to the warning labels on hair care products, requires the understanding of multiple writing concepts and techniques.
I don’t want to freak you out, dear writer (don’t worry, I got you covered), but writing isn’t one, single thing you learn. It’s a series of thoughts, actions, and skills that we develop through practice and experimentation. You don’t just learn sentence structure and then you’re all set to write a bestselling novel. You learn grammar, syntax, sentence flow, spelling, and vocabulary. And that’s just some of the components that make up the mechanical-structure-side of writing. Poetry, creative writing, technical writing, and non-fiction writing all have separate components that you need to learn as well.
Since learning to write is such a massive undertaking, asking a single-simple question is like walking into a crowded flea market on a Saturday morning. When you enter, you have one objective—one thing you’re looking to buy. But then, it’s like *BAM* and twenty people start hawking their wares in your face, and the next thing you know, you’ve bought four pairs of knock-off-designer sunglasses and you forgot what you were originally looking for.
Talk about falling down a rabbit hole.
Asking writing questions works in the same way. You ask what you think is a small question, and then you realize, oh, wow, this is way more complicated than I expected. And that’s when we shut down. Insecurities creep in, and we get that overwhelmed-I–can’t–do–this-feeling. We lose control of our writing and purpose for writing. It’s how a historical fiction writer gets distracted and ends up obsessively researching the process of creating paper in the 1800s (but it’s important and necessary because their character ~thinks~ about reading a book in one scene 🙃).
And so people tend to either give up or resign themselves to the fact that asking questions about writing doesn’t do much help. Or even worse, someone makes them feel stupid for asking the question and then they learn to STOP asking questions.
That is a backwards way of thinking, dear writer.
Asking questions is how we learn.
And that’s the main mission of the Just Wondering Writers podcast. I created it because learning writing is overwhelming for everyone. Each episode of Just Wondering Writers tackles one question and provides simple and actionable methods to come to an answer in 10-15 minutes. It’s a bite-sized writing lesson that will put you back in control of your writing education. It doesn’t go off on tangents and introduce writing concepts that expand beyond the original “I was just wondering” question. It gives you the answer without the headache that usually comes from the search.
For example, if the “I was just wondering” question was how to create realistic characters in a novel, then that episode would only talk about techniques for making real and relatable characters. It would definitely not dissolve into a discussion about the benefits of creating an entire fantasy language for a minor character. Going off on a tangent like that would turn a “I was just wondering” question into a falling-down-a-rabbit-hole-question. And no one learns anything from falling down a rabbit hole (other than to watch where you’re going and maybe-you-should-tuck-and-roll-next-time).
So, let’s answer some writing questions together!
In this episode, we’ll talk about:
The Number One Thing that prevents people from writing a first draft.
Techniques for overcoming the First Draft Struggle.
How to look at and think about writing as a process.
Methods for building confidence in your writing skills to fight anxiety.
Links Mentioned in this Episode of Just Wondering Writers
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iTunes and Stitcher are like your middle school teacher who played favorites. You know, that teacher who listened to all the gossip about how ~great and fantastic~ Jessica M. was, and then ignored you. Don’t look at me like that—I’m not bitter! These podcast apps are exactly like that—they prefer and promote podcasts that have more reviews. You’d be doing me and other writers who could benefit from hearing the message of Just Wondering Writers a huge favor by leaving a review on iTunes. I’d be eternally grateful, dear writer.
Was there something you were “just wondering” about? Have any burning writing questions you want answered on Just Wondering Writers? Ask away by using the hashtag #JustWonderingWriters on Twitter.
Love the podcast and want to find out what others are wondering about? Search through the hashtag and find the questions other writers ask. If you know the answer to a writing question, help a friend out! Soon enough, we’ll be a big and happy community of knowledge sharers and writers unafraid to ask questions!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this episode! Do you have any tips for buckling down and finishing a first draft? Leave a comment below and tell me what you think.
I’m so psyched to start this journey with you, dear writer! Thanks for listening! 😊